Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trying on Worldviews

Original Posting

How much of our philosophizing in a matter of reason and how much is it a matter of feeling and emotion?

I got to thinking about my own worldview and how it's developed over the years, through several different shades of Christianity to my present agnosticism. Not to mention how I've tried on different approaches to ethics. I've noticed that there is, certainly, an element of reason when considering my worldview. I want the worldview to be consistent, and for that I test it with my reason to make sure that I'm not using any special pleading to squeeze in a belief I happen to like. Still, my predominant approach to these matters has to do with feeling and emotion; can I make myself love this philosophy? Can I reconcile myself to it in a way that keeps me from too much despair?

Now I wonder, does this indicate weakness on my part (as I've often believed) or is this just how humans do philosophy? Probably both, after all why not believe that the way humans do philosophy is weak?

Now, depending on the kind of philosophy, our reliance on emotion shifts, our emotional charge for a topic seems to me to be directly related to how much it affects how we view ourselves and our place in the world.

That's not to say that I (or anyone else) base my worldview strictly on emotion. If we care enough to think about things, we probably care enough to try to believe true things unless we've made a committed effort at some point to disregard the truth. However, what I'm describing is something like reconciliation. Once your mind sees the evidence going a certain direction, it seems that there is a period where the rest of you has to try it on. Your emotion and your will have to try to find a way to fit into the new belief you've found.

This is what I mean by "trying on worldviews." We don't adopt them strictly by reason, we have to find things that our whole being can commit to. This occasionally takes the form of someone constantly trying new beliefs and philosophies to see what fits comfortably.

This, of course, means that we aren't operating according to strict reason and evidence. It also means we're still human (you can decide if that's a positive or a negative). But I wonder what the exact proportions are. How much of our philosophizing is about examining evidence and following argument, and how much of it is about finding something we can live with?

No comments:

Post a Comment